SINGAPORE - An Uber driver who exchanged blows with a former Land Transport Authority traffic warden and used abusive words at him at the Bugis Junction taxi stand was jailed for a day and fined a total of $2,000 on Tuesday (Aug 16).
The driver, Goh Kok Ling, 60, admitted to fighting with ex-traffic warden Tan Hock Guan, disturbing the public peace, and uttering a vulgarity in Hokkien at the 51-year-old year-old at Victoria Street at about 7.15pm on Nov 27 last year.
Tan received a similar sentence in May this year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Daphne Lim said Tan was standing at the entrance of the taxi stand at Bugis Junction when he directed Goh, who was driving a Toyota Corolla Altis car, not to enter as the taxi stand was only for taxis.
He indicated to Goh to proceed to the pick-up drop-off point instead.
Unhappy, Goh told Tan to speak to his passenger, who wanted to be picked up from the taxi stand. They had an exchange of words, and the passenger got into Goh's vehicle.
Tan then took a photo of Goh's car. Goh got down from his car, touched Tan on his shoulder from behind, and also challenged him to issue a summons.
When Tan told Goh not to lay hands on him, Goh said he had already touched him. Tan added that he had recorded a video and that Goh could expect action to be taken against him.
Goh later leaned over Tan and abused him. Tan also abused Goh and punched the latter on the stomach.
Goh retaliated and both traded punches during which Goh slipped and fell to the ground. Tan gave Goh a kick.
A passer-by broke up the fight. He also stopped Goh from moving towards Tan again.
Tan then moved to the other side of the taxi stand. Goh followed and confronted him. Tan then punched Goh and the two fought again.
The same passer-by intervened to separate them.
Goh had bruises on his chest, slight tenderness over his left cheek and two missing teeth. Tan suffered abrasions over his left knee.
Seeking a commensurate sentence as Tan's, DPP Lim highlighted two aggravated factors. She said Goh's behaviour had contributed to the escalation of the altercation into a fight. The incident had caused public disquiet and disrupted public peace.
Goh's lawyer Benny Tan, assigned by the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (Clas) ,said in mitigation that there was no pre-meditation on Goh's part. Neither did Goh have the intention to come down and have a fight.
He said his client had stopped being an Uber driver and had forked out close to $20,000 in medical fees, in particular, to replace the two teeth that he lost after being assaulted by the LTA traffic warden.
Goh did not pay the $2,000 fine and will serve a default sentence of two weeks' jail.
He could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined up to $5,000 on each charge.